IT business consultants are employed to provide solutions and planning advice on an organization's data, communication or software systems. It is critical for these professionals to have experience in the worlds of business and IT management, often on top of a bachelor's degree in a related field. Job growth is expected to be much faster than average in the coming decade.
IT business consultants provide expertise and oversight for organizations in need of new technological solutions, including data networks and software platforms. Employers prefer a consultant who has completed a bachelor's degree program and has several years of industry experience.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in a subject related to computers, information technology or business|
|Other Requirements||Several years of related experience typically preferred|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||21% for broad field of computer systems analysts|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$85,800 for broad field of computer systems analysts|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
IT Business Consultant Job Description
Information technology consultants provide analysis, advice and solutions for organizations that need to develop or improve their communication, data or software systems. They can also provide training for current employees. Job duties of IT business consultants vary by industry and specialty, but generally include performance assessments of a business' existing systems, strategic planning and implementation of the new system or process.
While many offer general expertise, it's common for IT consultants to specialize in a particular system or industry. For example, small businesses lacking the budget for a technology executive can contract an IT consultant to install data networks and provide maintenance and troubleshooting on an as-needed basis. Other consultants may specialize in providing technological solutions designed for specific industries, such as software platforms for healthcare facilities.
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Education Requirements for IT Business Consultants
IT business consultants typically transition out of information systems management and executive positions, such as IT manager or Chief Information Officer (CIO). Most employers prefer applicants who have completed a bachelor's degree program in computer science, information technology or business. Coursework should include information management, systems analysis and computer programming languages. Completion of a master's degree program in a related field can enhance an applicant's chances of success as a consultant.
Though not a common requirement, acquiring and maintaining professional certifications can provide IT consultants with a competitive advantage by ensuring prospective employers or clients that they are knowledgeable and current with the latest technological developments and business philosophies. Technology vendors often provide these certification programs for their products, such as Cisco Systems' network designations or the certified Java developer certifications from Oracle. A business management or process certification, such as the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc.'s certified management consultant (CMC) designation, can also be advantageous.
Salary and Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2015 that IT business consultants, also known as computer systems analysts, made a median annual salary of $85,800. The BLS projected that computer systems analysts would see a 21% increase in employment opportunities over the 2014-2024 decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
IT Business consultants often have a background in management or technology, and can choose to specialize in a particular technological area. Professional certification is available in the field and through private vendors, and a bachelors' or master's degree are typically required. In 2015, IT business consultants, or computer systems analysts, earned a median annual salary of around $85,000.